Principle #1: God is the Author of Free Government
Over this past school year, I have attempted to outline "Six Foundational Principles of Free Republics." These are not essays discussing the Constitutional Construction of our Republic, but rather they are the foundational principles which support the framework we recognize as Constitutional law. I like to think of the constitution as the frame of our national house, but a house frame without a sure foundation is no house at all. Only when a frame is built and maintained upon a sure foundation will it be able to be maintained for hundreds of years. The Constitution, which is the frame for our national life, will sink and crack if the foundation fails. The frame will no longer be useful in preserving the freedoms it was designed to secure.
Any study of our free republic must begin with the study of those foundational principles upon which our individual freedom and national house depends. The first of which is the principle that God is the author of Liberty and only upon his laws is it able to be maintained.
Certainly, our founders intended that future generations of Americans would be free to progress and adapt our government to meet changing needs, but what they hoped for was that we would continue to understand the principles upon which our freedom exists and never turn away from those principles both in private and public actions that will secure our freedom.
As such their belief in free government would not have extended legitimacy to actions taken, even if by majority rule, that would result in the loss of a FREE Republic for all. Under that supreme law to which they appealed for legitimacy in throwing off the political bands of Europe, men are not justified in leading themselves and others into servitude to any power other than that benevolent power whose reward for submission is the greatest human liberty and happiness.
John Adams words implore us to protect that only form of free government by an even and predictable execution of law.
"If there is a form of government then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?... there is no good government but what is Republican… the very definition of a Republic, is “an Empire of Laws, and not of men… that form of government, which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of Republics.” (“Thoughts on Government,” John Adams, April 1776)
Every declaration made by our founders called upon this first principle, an appeal to the Supreme ruler of the universe as the origin of our Liberty. They called upon the Creator for their right to "dissolve the political bands..." that had long impeded their exercise of unalienable rights "to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." They did this with the intent to lay the foundation of a new nation upon such principles most likely to secure their natural rights and effect their Safety and Happiness. There would be no American ideal or institution without this initial appeal to the Supreme ruler of the universe and the principles of truth upon which his laws rest secure.